A BATTERD, wreckd old man,
Thrown on this savage shore, far, far from home,
Pent by the sea, and dark rebellious brows, twelve dreary months,
Sore, stiff with many toils, sickend, and nigh to death,
I take my way along the islands edge,
Venting a heavy heart.
I am too full of woe!
Haply, I may not live another day;
I can not rest, O GodI can not eat or drink or sleep,
Till I put forth myself, my prayer, once more to Thee,
Breathe, bathe myself once more in Theecommune with Thee,
Report myself once more to Thee.
Thou knowest my years entire, my life,
(My long and crowded life of active worknot adoration merely;)
Thou knowest the prayers and vigils of my youth;
Thou knowest my manhoods solemn and visionary meditations;
Thou knowest how, before I commenced, I devoted all to come to Thee;
Thou knowest I have in age ratified all those vows, and strictly kept them;
Thou knowest I have not once lost nor faith nor ecstasy in Thee;
(In shackles, prisond, in disgrace, repining not,
Accepting all from Theeas duly come from Thee.)
All my emprises have been filld with Thee,
My speculations, plans, begun and carried on in thoughts of Thee,
Sailing the deep, or journeying the land for Thee;
Intentions, purports, aspirations mineleaving results to Thee.
O I am sure they really come from Thee!
The urge, the ardor, the unconquerable will,
The potent, felt, interior command, stronger than words,
A message from the Heavens, whispering to me even in sleep,
These sped me on.
By me, and these, the work so far accomplishd (for what has been, has been;)
By me Earths elder, cloyd and stifled lands, uncloyd, unloosd;
By me the hemispheres rounded and tiedthe unknown to the known.
The end I know notit is all in Thee;
Or small, or great, I know nothaply, what broad fields, what lands;
Haply, the brutish, measureless human undergrowth I know,
Transplanted there, may rise to stature, knowledge worthy Thee;
Haply the swords I know may there indeed be turnd to reaping-tools;
Haply the lifeless cross I knowEuropes dead crossmay bud and blossom
One effort moremy altar this bleak sand:
That Thou, O God, my life hast lighted,
With ray of light, steady, ineffable, vouchsafed of Thee,
(Light rare, untellablelighting the very light!
Beyond all signs, descriptions, languages!)
For that, O Godbe it my latest wordhere on my knees,
Old, poor, and paralyzedI thank Thee.
My terminus near,
The clouds already closing in upon me,
The voyage balkdthe course disputed, lost,
I yield my ships to Thee.
Steersman unseen! henceforth the helms are Thine;
Take Thou command(what to my petty skill Thy navigation?)
My hands, my limbs grow nerveless;
My brain feels rackd, bewilderd; Let the old timbers partI will not
I will cling fast to Thee, O God, though the waves buffet me;
Thee, Thee, at least, I know.
Is it the prophets thought I speak, or am I raving?
What do I know of life? what of myself?
I know not even my own work, past or present;
Dim, ever-shifting guesses of it spread before me,
Of newer, better worlds, their mighty parturition,
Mocking, perplexing me.
And these things I see suddenlywhat mean they?
As if some miracle, some hand divine unseald my eyes,
Shadowy, vast shapes, smile through the air and sky,
And on the distant waves sail countless ships,
And anthems in new tongues I hear saluting me.